MIP Could Become a Civil Infraction (Update 2015)

Minor in Possession could go from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction under the Michigan alcohol bill. Underage drinkers could face a potential penalty equal to a speeding ticket.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Group

MIP (Minor in Possession of Alcohol) Civil Infraction or Criminal Charge?

New legislation pending in Lansing would change the penalty for underage drinkers caught possessing alcohol, otherwise known as MIP, purchasing or consuming alcohol in Michigan to a civil infraction rather than a misdemeanor offense.

The sponsor of the legislation is State Senator Rick Jones. He says he is presenting this potential legislation because prosecutors have told him that minor in possession (MIP) cases are clogging the court’s dockets as young people fight the charges. “Young people have found that having a misdemeanor on their record prevents them from getting college scholarships, sometimes getting into college, and certainly it affects future job prospects,” said Jones R-Grand Ledge.

Current MIP First Offense Law

Under current law, a MIP first offense is punishable by a maximum fine of up to $100. There can be additional conditions placed on an offender, such as drug/alcohol testing and therapy. A second offense MIP can lead to a fine of $200. If there is a probation violation, there is a possibility of going to jail.

Senate Bill 332 would retain the fines but eliminate the threat of jail time or a permanent record. A third offense would still be a misdemeanor crime punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail, just like current law.

The change in the law is supported by the Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan (CDAM).

The opposition:

Testimony against the bill reminded the committee members that MIPs were civil infractions once before in Michigan from 1978 – 1995, and they did not work in curtailing young people’s consumption of alcohol. Bruce Timmons testified that “district judges around the state complained that the civil fine sanction was ineffective and unenforceable.” There was also a problem with many young people failing to pay the fines.

Attorney - Michigan - Awards

MIP Law Update (2018)

The current law for Minor in Possession (MIP) of alcohol in Michigan has undergone significant changes. As of January 1, 2018, a first offense for MIP is treated as a civil infraction, rather than a misdemeanor. This change means that a first-time offender will face a fine of $100 and will not have to make mandatory court appearances. The offense may also involve community service or a substance abuse class and will appear on the individual’s driving record.

The charge remains a misdemeanor for a second offense, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine. The new law aims to protect minors from criminal charges for what is often considered a minor offense, while still maintaining accountability. It also allows minors to maintain a cleaner criminal record, which can benefit future employment opportunities. However, it’s important to note that a minor in possession offense can still be visible on a public record.

Is hiring a lawyer for a MIP civil infraction worth it?

Hiring a lawyer for a Minor in Possession (MIP) civil infraction in Michigan can be beneficial, especially considering the potential long-term impacts. Experienced attorneys can negotiate effectively with prosecutors, possibly reducing the severity of the infraction or even getting it dismissed. They understand the local legal system and can use their expertise to present a strong case. While an MIP is a civil infraction and not as severe as a misdemeanor, it can still affect driving records and insurance rates, making legal representation worthwhile.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

First Rate Minor in Possession Defense Attorneys in Michigan

The good and affordable law firm of LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has handled and defended every criminal offense imaginable in Michigan. Our firm prides itself on being cutting-edge and up-to-the-minute on changes in Michigan law. There is no telling at this point if the MIP law will change to make the offense a civil infraction. However, you can count on LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. to know immediately if it does. Our attorneys are well respected by their peers, judges, and members of the general public. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is considered one of Michigan’s most successful, reliable, passionate, and fearless law firms. Our attorneys consider it an honor to stand between our clients and the prosecutors to make sure that constitutional rights are protected. If you face a criminal charge or know someone who is, the lawyers at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are the “go-to” lawyers for the best representation available. You need the best when faced with a criminal record or possible jail or prison. Call us for a free consultation. We will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a winning strategy.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

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we are not afraid to win!

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